The Annual Virginia Journal of Criminal Law Symposium at the University of Virginia School of Law: Criminal Discovery in the Commonwealth February 26, 2014

On Wednesday, February 26, 2014, the Virginia Journal of Criminal Law is pleased to host a symposium on criminal discovery in the Commonwealth of Virginia, at the University of Virginia School of Law. The Symposium topic is timely: a proposal to change the criminal discovery rules in Virginia has been proposed, and offices have adopted a range of discovery practices to supplement the baseline discovery required in the rules. The issue of failure to disclose exculpatory evidence continues to be a high-profile one nationwide, with reversals of convictions due to violations of Brady v. Maryland, and cases in which exculpatory evidence came to light only years after a conviction was reversed. At the same time, there have been real advances in best practices made possible by new approaches and technology.

Panelists will include law enforcement, prosecutors, defense lawyers, and policymakers from around the state. We will first hear about the high-profile Texas case of Michael Morton, whose conviction was reversed in 2011 based on DNA testing that identified the actual culprit, after spending nearly 25 years in prison. Morton’s lawyers uncovered discovery violations that led to a judicial inquiry, and then in 2013, to the conviction of the lead prosecutor who had originally put Morton behind bars. We will then discuss the range of discovery procedures and practices adopted by police, Commonwealth’s Attorneys, and U.S. Attorneys in Virginia. Finally, we will discuss the recent proposal under consideration to change the criminal discovery rule in the Commonwealth.

The Symposium begins at 10:00 a.m. at Caplin Pavilion at UVA Law School in
Charlottesville, Virginia. There will be a break for lunch at noon. A schedule is included in the document linked below, along with biographies of some of the presenters.

This course has been approved for 4 DCJS in-service credits and is pending approval for 5 CLE credits. Registration is free, as is the event.

You can register here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/criminal-discovery-in-virginiatickets-10274221473?ref=estw

If you have any questions, please email the law journal’s Special Projects Editor Sean Mulligan at spm5cb@virginia.edu or Professor Brandon L. Garrett at bgarrett@virginia.edu.

Symposium Schedule and Reading Materials

Eyewitness Identification Procedures Study

A new study authored by University of Virginia School of Law professor Brandon Garrett came out today. Following up on our spring symposium this year, the study undertook a survey of Virginia police department lineup procedures. Despite the adoption of a new state model policy in 2011, the study concludes that more robust measures may be needed to bring about widespread change in these practices.

See the write-up on the UVA Law website.

Several media outlets have reported on the study, including:

The Washington Post article

Richmond Times-Dispatch article

Associated Press article

The study will be published in VJCL’s next issue.

Introducing the 2013-2014 Board

Now that the new members of our editorial board have joined—and are even working on a cite check as we speak—we would like to welcome all of our new members, as well as the additions to our Executive Managing Board.

This year’s Board is made  up of a great group of people and we all look forward to working together over the next year to bring VJCL into the spotlight and get the Journal running smoothly and cohesively.

Take a look at this year’s masthead to get a look at all of the great talent we’ll be working with:

2013-2014 Masthead

2013 VJCL Symposium

VJCL’s 2013 Symposium is taking place this Wednesday at the University of Virginia School of Law. This year’s symposium is focused on lineup policies and procedures in the state of Virginia. We hope the day’s session will be a useful opportunity for practitioners to make concrete changes to improve the criminal justice system in our own state, and can thereby provide a model for other states investigating their own lineup procedures. See the official announcement for more details and we hope to see you there.

New Executive Board and Junior Editors

VJCL is proud to announce that it has a new Executive Managing Board. We are excited to get to work with the Journal and already have a few great updates to provide before the end of the semester. Keep an eye out for future posts announcing the new Board and our new 1L members.

VJCL Co-Sponsors Event with Animal Law Society

On March 31, 2011 Geoff Fleck from the Animal Legal Defense Fund will visit grounds to discuss the connection between animal cruelty and violent crime, particularly domestic abuse.  Mr. Fleck has significant experience prosecuting animal cruelty and can speak to this disturbing connection from both a legal and anecdotal perspective.

VJCL Website Goes Live

The Virginia Journal of Criminal Law launches its website.